Monday, March 2, 2015

And Now We're SEVEN!

It’s hard to believe that we have had a retail location for 7 years now…7 years! 

This past weekend I had a chance to reminisce with a friend who is expecting (Yay!) about how Elegant Mommy started. Back in the day, there used to be a message board locally called Sioux Falls Moms. We had an incredible group of Moms who built a network to support each other and meet other Moms. One day someone asked a question about where to buy maternity clothing and it got me thinking about what was available in the Sioux Falls area for maternity clothing and the answer at the time was: very little! However, I had a great job that I had worked really hard to get and I was thinking I’d start a website, just for fun. 

So when Elegant Mommy first started, it was a website that sold pre-owned maternity clothing. My friend and I would “model” the clothing with a fake belly and edit our faces out of the pictures, and that is how Elegant Mommy was born! We had a fantastic response and we did a few “home” shows where we would bring the clothes to people’s homes, however, shortly after starting the website I found I was pregnant! So hauling clothing in and out of peoples homes in a South Dakota winter while I was pregnant was not the best way to approach this business. We kept getting phone calls asking where we were located and where people could try on the clothes. On January 31, 2008 we took a leap of faith and signed a lease for 750 square feet at 2109 W 49th St. 

We opened the doors for the first time on Saturday, March 1st, 2008 and I remember bawling my eyes out on the way home that day. I was so overwhelmed with what God had blessed us with and I knew that this is what God was calling me to do in my life. 

But here was the predicament…I loved what I was doing at the time. I was working for a major bank’s Mortgage division as an Assistant Vice President. I had a dream job that I had worked very hard for. Even though my position offered me a lot of flexibility, I still didn't like how much I was away from my children. By the time our son was born that year and my maternity leave was up that fall, I knew something had to change. The store had grown to the point that I knew I couldn't keep doing both things. I had to choose: Either I followed the path that God was laying out for me and my family (which would bring me much more flexibility to spend more time with my children and make a difference in my community, however, it also meant that we would cut our family’s income more than in half) OR I could close the store and continue climbing the corporate ladder and being away from my family more than I liked, but we’d have a six figure income as a family. 

After much prayer and buckets of tears, it was decided that I would leave the corporate world on December 31, 2008 and pursue Elegant Mommy full time! It was such an incredible leap of faith and many people (including a lot of my family) thought I was absolutely insane to walk away from the corporate world that I had worked so hard for. But 7 years later, I still believe that God always has your back J

~Shelly

Monday, February 23, 2015

Buy Small, Buy Local

If you've been in our store, you know that we carry many different vendors' merchandise. We love bringing you wonderful high-quality items that will help you on your parenting journey.

What you may not know, is that many of our vendors are local parents and grandparents who have small businesses and make some super awesome items. We love being able to bring these things to you.

By carrying locally made items in our store, we help you support families from right here in South Dakota and the surrounding areas just by shopping with us.


As a local small business ourselves, we feel very strongly about supporting other small, family-run businesses, and in 2014 we were able to write checks totaling $33,255.97 to local artisans for goods sold in our store!

That's huge!!

And we couldn't have done that without YOU - our friends and customers.

So, thank you for supporting small businesses by choosing to shop with us instead of big box stores. Because of you, we are able to in-turn support other small businesses, and our community benefits even more.

~Evie

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sakura Bloom - What's the Big Hubub?

If you are a part of our Elegant Mommy Chat group on Facebook, then you've seen a bunch of pictures and posts in the past weeks with moms wearing their babies. (If you aren't part of our Facebook group, you need to join!!) We LOVE babywearing here!

One of the awesome carriers we have in our store is the Sakura Bloom ring sling.

I was gifted one of these little pieces of awesomeness when I was expecting our sweet little Ember. I first wore her in it when she was about a week old and have consistently worn her ever since. She loves it and so do I! I can pretty easily nurse her (it took a little practice...I'm pretty well endowed, so it took awhile before I felt comfortable nursing her without feeling like I was smothering her with my breast)

Me and my sweet. She likes to fall asleep while being worn - it's SO comfy for her! :)

One thing I was really glad to have, was some knowledge of proper positioning for her when I used it. You may or may not know that there are good carriers and slings out there, and there are definitely BAD ones. All babywearing is NOT created equal!

I can assure you that Sakura Bloom slings ARE one of the good ones. In fact, I'm kinda in love with them!

Here is a video that shows how to properly position your newborn in your sling.



So, here are your to-dos from today's post.

  1. Join our Elegant Mommy Chat group on Facebook!
  2. Get out your Sakura Bloom ring sling, and if you don't have one, get yourself one at our store or on our website! (I mean, seriously....can you imagine more beautiful fabric?)
  3. Wear your baby and enjoy all the benefits!
  4. Share a picture of yourself wearing your little one on our group page!
I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful babywearing photos!
~Evie

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time For Gratitude - Sweet Valentine's

I'm guessing you all know that Valentine's day was this past weekend.

I'm also guessing that you each had your own way to celebrate the day of love....or not.

Everyone deals with the day differently, I think. Some are very extravagant in their showering of love onto their loved ones, some are very minimalist. Some have very high expectations and others have given up hope that their loves will do anything special at all.

Here in the DeWitt household we fall somewhere into the middle of all that. When we were first together I of course had very high expectations. I mean, I *finally* had found the love of my life! I totally expected that he would shower me with beautiful and romantic things....flowers, chocolates, jewelry, a fine meal, you name it. Well, as the years went on I modified my expectations and learned to *tell* him what I wanted, if there was something special.

So, when it was just us, we usually went out for a nice meal, he would send me flowers at work, and that was about it.

Fast forward to now - three kids later and 15 years under our belts.

The romance isn't gone by any means, but as we've grown in our relationship, our idea of romance has changed a bit.

I've learned to just go with the flow and enjoy the day for what it is. A day to celebrate love. And do you know what I love?

  • I love my husband
  • I love our children
  • I love spending time with them all
  • I love getting hugs from little arms (and big strong arms!)
  • I love kisses
  • I love going to the store with my family
  • I love going to the store without my family (sometimes that's the only alone time I get!)
  • I love sitting in a quiet room and reading
  • I love watching a good family movie with them all
  • I love making a delicious meal that they all enjoy
  • I love homemade gifts - making them and receiving them
  • I love cards (you know, like from Hallmark? I don't know...it's a thing)
  • I love not having expectations
  • I love looking for the little things and appreciating and celebrating them all


So this year I had fun doing a little shopping for my sweet Valentines on Friday. I got a couple little things for the kids (not any of the typical Valentine-y gifts...I like finding and giving things that they can use and will appreciate even when it's not February 14. Seriously - we do NOT need more stuffed animals holding hearts). And I also got to spend time to find the perfect card for my sweet husband. I didn't really get him anything else but some chocolates I thought he would enjoy.

The one thing that I also do every Valentine's Day is make a no-bake cherry cheesecake for the family. When I was growing up my dear grandma made one for us every Valentine's, and I kept up the tradition when I moved out and was in Oregon far away from the rest of my family. It's been our own little Valentine's Day thing ever since.

I have purposed to find enjoyment and love in the little things on Valentine's Day. Even if it's not extravagant. I had a wonderful time on Saturday just waking up to a lovely card from my sweet husband, handmade Valentine's from the kiddos, grocery shopping with my whole family and then spending the rest of the day receiving hugs, kisses, and some rare quiet time to read! I felt very loved, and I loved on all my Sweet Valentines.

Whether you had big expectations or no expectations, my prayer is that you felt loved on Saturday, and that you were able to show the ones you love just how much.

~Evie

Friday, February 13, 2015

Breastfeeding Protection in South Dakota

As you know, SD Breastfeeding Coalition and SD Birth Matters have been working together to get a law passed here in SD that will protect breastfeeding mothers. If you want to read more about it, you can read my blog post from a couple weeks ago on the matter.

Several things have happened since I wrote that post, so I wanted to give you an update along with a call to action.

Our Breastfeeding Protection Bill (SB77) passed the Senate Floor 33-0 - this was a huge victory!

Then it was off to the House Health & Human Services (HHS) Committee. There was a lot of great testimony in favor of our bill, and no opposition to it (the retailers and commerce lobby has backed off any opposition). After testimony was done, the members of the committee had an opportunity to discuss it.

And discuss it they did.

Representative Lana Greenfield had some concerns about businesses, and how this bill might negatively affect employers when employees start to bring their babies to work and nurse them whenever and wherever they are, interrupting their jobs and productivity. It was explained that this has nothing to do with workplace nursing, but I'm not sure she got that, as she made another comment about it when placing her vote.

The other interesting comments during committee came from Representative Steve Hickey, who lamented that there wasn't language in the bill saying that nursing needed to be discreet and should only allow for babies under the age of one. He made a motion to add that language to the bill - his amendment didn't get a second, so died.

After all the discussion and testimony, the HHS committee voted and passed the bill 12-0. They then placed it on the Consent Calendar, which basically means that instead of having a discussion on the floor, there will be a vote with the understanding that there's no opposition. Legislators can ask any question of the sponsor, but that's it.

(You can listen to this hearing HERE. Just click on the SDBP "bird" next to 2/10/15 Health & Human Services)

It was set to be voted on the House floor on the Consent Calendar on Wednesday (2/11/15). When it came up, Representative Greenfield pulled it off Consent, which means it was deferred to another day and will now be able to be discussed on the floor, and amendments added if Representatives decide to.

Our understanding at this point is that it will be brought up for vote on the House Floor on Tuesday, 2/17/15.

You may have read in your local paper that the bill passed and is now headed to the Governor's desk to be signed into law. That is NOT true!

So, we need your help!

We need you to CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and tell them you want them to vote yes on SB77 and you DON'T want them to add any amendments! We are one of only 3 states that doesn't have this protection for breastfeeding moms, and the law we are trying to pass is very similar to the rest of the 47 laws in the country. We don't need to legislate modesty (whose definition of modesty would be followed, anyway, and who would enforce it?), and we don't need to tell moms that their 12.5 month old can't be fed where others can see. I think moms are perfectly capable of deciding how old their child is when they decide to wean (because let's face it - if a baby isn't weaned, he or she may want to eat anytime). That is NOT something that legislators should be deciding for us.


Now. All that said, I have NO idea if they will be trying to add an amendment to this bill. I'm totally making assumptions based on the Committee hearing. Maybe there's nothing to worry about, and perhaps Greenfield just wants to discuss something completely different about the bill. I don't know.

What I do know, is that this is your chance to affect breastfeeding rights and protections in our state. All you need to do is send your Representatives a simple email stating: Please vote yes on SB77 as is. We don't want or need any amendments to make it more restrictive.

That's it!

You can find out who your Representatives are HERE.

You can email your Representatives HERE.

Thanks for your help in getting this protection put in place, and I look forward to being able to share with you that South Dakota has joined the ranks of states who care about protecting breastfeeding moms!

~Evie

Monday, February 9, 2015

Diaper Consignment at Elegant Mommy.....Say Whaaaat?

If you've been with us for awhile you know that we used to have this super-awesome-used-diaper-sales-event about four times a year. We called it "Diapapallooza". Pretty clever name for such an event, huh? I know. It really was a whole lot of awesome-ness :)

For several years we held that event. It changed a little as time went by, but the idea remained the same.

And so it was.

And then came a magnificent idea: Why don't we hold a continuous "Diapapallooza" in our store?

So it was decided that instead of doing a 4-times-a-year event, we would constantly have consignment diapers in a new section in our store.

Brilliant, right?

Well, a little while back we unveiled our very new section of "Consignment Diapers" where families who are ready to get rid of their stash can put them on consignment, and families who are wanting to add to their stash can do so affordably!


So, what do we need to make this work?

Well, first of all, we need diapers to consign! If you are looking to sell some of your fluff, bring it on in - we'd love to put it on our shelves! (You don't even need to make an appointment - just bring them in!) You can make some extra cash or earn store credit with literally zero effort besides bringing them in - how can you beat that?!

Secondly - if you are looking for some new-to-you fluff to add to your stash at fantastically low prices, come on in! We are regularly getting new dipes in, and you just never know what you might find! :)

We'll see you soon and look forward to consigning your dipes!

~Evie


Monday, February 2, 2015

Breastfeeding Laws in South Dakota

I've shared a lot with you through the years about different things I do and am involved in.

You know I am a wife, mom of three (7, 5, & 3 months), Certified Birth Doula, Certified Childbirth Educator, Certified Lactation Counselor, I lead a Young Moms Group here in Mitchell, I help with our kids' church program at my church, and I'm basically overall just passionate about helping moms throughout their journey, wherever they are.

One thing I haven't talked much about is my involvement with trying to get laws passed in South Dakota to help pregnant, birthing, and breastfeeding moms. I serve on the board of SD Birth Matters, which is a consumer group dedicated to influencing lawmakers in Pierre to pass legislation in favor of evidence based care for young moms and their babies. We are particularly focused on birth and breastfeeding laws.

You may or may not know that South Dakota's legislative session is in full swing right now and that there is a bill relating to breastfeeding (SB77). I'd like to shed some light on what the law would be if passed, where it is in the legislative process, and where it needs to go from here.

But before I start on this particular breastfeeding bill, I want to be very clear that currently South Dakota has only two laws relating to breastfeeding. The first is a law that says a breastfeeding mom cannot be charged with indecency while breastfeeding. The 2nd is a law that exempts breastfeeding moms from jury duty. That's it.

This year the SD Breastfeeding Coalition and SD Birth Matters have collaborated to bring a law to protect breastfeeding moms who nurse in public. The law as originally written was as follows:
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present.

On Friday (1/30/15) our bill was heard in the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. There were several of us who testified in favor of the bill. We shared some benefits of breastfeeding, the importance of not making a baby wait to nurse, as well as a couple stories of moms who were recently not allowed to nurse where they were.


Before the hearing, there was some scuttle that some legislators were concerned that there wasn't language about being discreet while nursing. There was also a bigger threat from SD Retailers and SD Commerce groups because the bill as written would take away private business' rights. As you might imagine, these groups have a lot more money and resources to lobby against our bill than we do to lobby for it. Neither of these groups went on record as being against the bill, but they are very powerful "behind the scenes".

So, to save our bill, one of our supportive Senators introduced an amendment. The bill passed the Committee hearing with the amendment and now reads:
A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present as long as the mother is in compliance with all other state and municipal laws. However, no municipality may outright ban breast feeding in public places.

This basically means that if a municipality (i.e. city) has any discretion (i.e. nursing with a cover or something similar) laws that the mom needs to follow them. We don't anticipate this being an issue, but if it becomes one, we will deal with it at a local level.

Now, all that said, there is still a long way to go before our state can add a law like this to statute. Every bill has the same path: Originating House Committee --> Originating House Floor --> Other House Committee --> Other House Floor --> Governor's Desk to be signed into law.

This bill originated in the Senate. So, it has passed the Senate HHS Committee (where only a few Senators voted on it) and either tomorrow or Wednesday it will be heard and voted on the Senate floor where all Senators will vote on it. If it passes the Senate floor, it will be sent over to the House side, where it will first have to pass the House HHS Committee (small number of House Representatives), then the House Floor (all House Representatives), and finally it can be sent to the Governor.


Throughout this whole process, we need all the help from YOU that we can get! There still may be a
threat from the Retailer and Commerce groups. We don't know how aggressively they will be lobbying against us, so we should be doing all we can to counter them. I want to encourage you to contact your Senator and respectfully ask him or her to vote yes on it. If you are a small business owner make sure to let them know you disagree with those in opposition to the bill. Again, the more respectful you are, the more weight your request pulls.

Being involved in Pierre is very eye-opening! I would encourage everyone to take note of the goings-on in Pierre every year and get involved by attending Cracker-Barrels (weekend sessions where you can meet your legislators and ask them questions) and contacting your district's legislators to let them know what you think on bills that affect you.

So, please email your Senator tonight and ask them to vote YES on SB77. It's time SD join the other 47 states that have similar laws, and we need your help!

You can find who your district legislators are here: http://legis.sd.gov/Legislators/Who_Are_My_Legislators/default.aspx?CurrentSession=True

You can send your legislator an email from here: http://legis.sd.gov/Contact/LegislatorEmail.aspx?CurrentSession=True

Here is a link to the bill where you can listen to Friday's hearing and follow the progress of the bill: http://legis.sd.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Session=2015&Bill=sb77

Thanks for your support - YOU can help protect nursing moms in SD!!

~Evie